Film Briefs is our way of giving our opinion on films we might not necessarily have the time to review in full. This is a column where we sum up our feelings about the last few movies we saw and throw ‘em up just to give you an idea of what’s out there.
Follow the jump to see briefs for The Paperboy, Sinister, and V/H/S
It’s not likely that Lee Daniels‘ follow-up to his 2009 Award-winning Precious will be recognized by the Academy come Oscar season. Not because it’s a bad film, mind you, but mostly because the Academy tends to frown upon more exploitative cinema. First and foremost Daniels’ film is an exercise on B-movie genre filmmaking (the setting is in the 1960s even though it’s rooted in 1970s esthetics). To help aid these esthetics the entire film was shot on the beautiful grain of 16mm. I recommend ignoring the IMDB written-up plot synopsis of “A reporter returns to his Florida hometown to investigate a case involving a death row inmate“. Rather, I find it best to watch this film for the many visceral joys it has to offer – one of them being a golden shower scene with my favorite Aussie actress.
Ethan Hawke plays a non-fictional crime writer who moves his family into the house of a murderous crime scene in order to be close to the source material for his latest book. What follows is a relentless immersion into a claustrophobic atmosphere of darkly lit indoor settings and ghostly suspense. Though the movie does a fine job of raising the hairs on the back of my neck, those chills come with a price. I’m talking about the noticeable shortcomings I found hard to overlook while trying to remain immersed in director Scott Derrickson‘s world. Poorly written characters and a pre-mature revealing twist – one I saw coming a mile away – are two elements I had a hard time forgiving. Other than that, this is a pretty decent ghost movie.
This is a found footage horror anthology made strictly for fans of this style of horror filmmaking. For the record, I happen to be one of those fans. From Cannibal Holocaust to The Blair Witch Project right up to the latest Paranormal Activity entry, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying quite a bit of what these movies have to offer. Odd than that an anthology showcasing these type of movies would leave me so disappointed, especially one trying to elevate the genre and come up with new ways to justify the way the found footage is captured. Other than the first and last short, I had trouble not only staying entertained, but being scared as well. Too much filler in between the only worthwhile parts of any compilation is never a good thing. Also, most of these shorts felt incomplete and more like test-reels than an actual finished project.
Time to re-watch Cloverfield and recapture my love for this genre once again.